Checking your blood sugar, finger pricks, changing lancets, delivering insulin, drawing up syringes, changing pump sites. Managing type 1 diabetes may seem repetitive at first, but as you realize that the disease is constantly evolving, you learn that you consistently grow along with it. Obviously, when I was diagnosed at 6 years old, my family cared for just about everything concerning my health. Diabetes was too new and I was too young to handle everything myself. However, it wasn't long before I began to develop my independence regarding my health. Slowly, I started doing things myself.
At day camp, only a few months after being diagnosed, I did not want anyone other my mom to give me shots, but since she couldn't come every time I needed an injection, I learned how to give them to myself in my thigh. Eventually, I learned how to draw up the syringe as well. Then, only 6 months after my diagnosis, I switched from injections to an insulin pump, which I was immediately determined to learn how to operate completely by myself. Now, I would say I know the pump inside and out, backwards and forwards, better than anyone else in my family. However, it took me a long time to learn and understand everything myself. Still, I could not seem to check my blood sugar myself! It took my school nurse, family, and friends to finally convince me that I was able to do it myself! Finally when I did, I felt empowered that I could do anything.
Years later when I decided to go to sleep away camp, my mom told me that I was not allowed to go unless I learned how to put my own pump site in and be totally independent, since she wouldn't be there. Putting my own pump site in was the only major thing that I did not know how to do by myself. I remember that my mom had been slowly teaching me for a few months, when my site came out when I was home alone one day, almost like a test. I called my mom in a panic, and she calmly told me to put my site in. It was the first time I would be doing it by myself, but she stayed on the phone with me, and with this motivation, I did it.
Since being diagnosed almost 10 years ago, my family and I went from knowing absolutely nothing about type 1 diabetes and it's management, to it becoming a typical part of our daily lives. I grew up quickly, but I was determined to be independant. When you can take care of yourself it's easier to go to new places, meet new people, and try new things, because you know you can handle any situation you encounter along the way. With each new thing I learn about diabetes, I learn something new about myself and how much I can accomplish. It's during the times when feel like you can't overcome the challenge in your way that you learn even more about yourself. Learning new things and being able to care for myself was, and always is, one of the most empowering feelings.
The world of diabetes is always developing and changing. With advancements such as the artificial pancreas, new glucometers, new pumps, and more, there is always more to learn and adjust to. However, I know that with the support of my family and friends, I will be able to handle anything that is thrown my way.
Over the past few years, I have written about my experience with type one diabetes years after I was diagnosed. I have shared daily challenges that I have overcome, goals that have taken me a long time to accomplish, advice, advocacy efforts, and so much more. However, on the day that I was diagnosed with this disease, I know that my family and I never dreamt in our wildest dreams that any of this would be possible.
I will never forget that day. I was six years old and my blood sugar was probably somewhere around 500, yet I will always remember every small aspect of December 6, 2004. It was a Monday. I was in first grade. I went to school that day, blue jeans, a t-shirt, and grey hooded sweater, as if nothing was wrong...as if it wasn't one of the most important days of my life. Well, I was 6 years old, how was I supposed to know? Now my mom? Oh, she knew. She knew that something was wrong with her baby. So, she scheduled an appointment with my doctor for right after school. After school, I handed my mom a note from my teacher expressing concern for my constant urination and drinking water. With that extra stimulus, my mom dashed to the doctors' office.
"Hannah, how would you like to go help at the front desk for a little bit? I need to talk to your mom alone for a minute." The doctor sent me out of the room after sticking a bandaid on my first finger prick. (Wow, imagine if we used a bandaid after every finger prick...)
I remember the doctor had walked into the room and sniffed the air around me. My mom and I had glanced at eachother, slightly confused, but continued the examination. Afterwards, we found out that he had actually smelled the sweetness in my breathe from my high blood sugar. Breathe mint please?
When I was finally called back into the room, I knew something was seriously wrong, but I could not understand why everybody seemed so concerned. I could not fathom the idea that there was no cure for this disease and that I would have it my whole life, or that something like this could happen to me. I remember acting upset, because it seemed like the right thing to do...everyone else was upset, so I assumed I should be too. After all, whatever was happening was happening to me.
I remember my mom's speedy driving to stop home and grab some clothing (and of course Mr. Sleepytime Bear, couldn't forget him!) and then the race to the hospital. In the waiting room, we all got pretty hungry, so, totally uneducated about diabetes, we all sat down for a few slices of pizza! What a perfect meal for someone in DKA! ...Not!
Finally in the Intensive Care Unit, where I would spend the next week, doctors and nurses were placing needles into my arms and I was immediately attached to two insulin drips. I was scared and confused, but the whole time, I watched my mom across my bed. She did not leave me for one second. Even from the very beginning, my family was there for me. Later in the day, spotted strutting down the hallway, were 3 of my mom's best friends, who had all come to see me and be there for me and my family. They had headed over right away! When all the commotion had finally settled down a bit, the nurse was covering me with a blanket when I asked her if I was the only kid in the hospital. Playfully shocked, she swiped open the curtain next to her and revealed another girl about my age, also lying in a hospital bed. For some reason in my 6 year old mind, this comforted me.
The next week was a crash course in chemistry, nursing, nutrition, exercise, and diabetes before we were set out into the real world. Although I do not remember leaving the hospital that first day, I imagine it must have been one of the scariest moments for me and my family. We had entered and left that hospital with a new outlook on life and how many carbs it contained. However, we is the most important word in that statement. We stuck together and supported eachother. We taught and helped one another, and everyone was always there to take care of me. Everyone pitched in however they could.
9 years ago, leaving the hospital, there was not nearly as advanced technology to help in the treating and research for type 1 diabetes, and I can only imagine what will be accomplished in the next 9 years. I would never have dreamt of any of the things that diabetes would teach me. On that very first day out of the hospital, my family and I only hoped to learn carb-counting and how to give insulin correctly. Now, we are not only experts in those topics and so many other diabetes related subjects, but we have gained so much more from this disease then we could have imagined. It has taught me how to take care of myself, how to stand up for myself, how to help others, and to, no matter what, never give up.
Grade four in Halifax, Nova Scotia is a big year for most students. No, it's not because we change schools or have a longer recess, it's because it's the year that you can try out for the school track and field team.
At my primary-to-nine school, there is no club, sports team or extra-curricular to join until you reach the fourth grade. It's anticipated from your very first day of primary, when you see the kids in the field at recess racing each other to get ready for the big day. Tryouts are held after school in mid-May, on the gravel track circling the field.
I wanted a spot on that team more than I wanted anything (or at least it felt that way at the time). I went out on that cold day in shorts, a t-shirt and a new pair of sneakers I had been saving since my birthday for the occasion, and I tried out for every event. Long distance running, throwing, sprinting, jumping, you name it I did it. My efforts were not fruitless; I was rewarded with a spot on the 4x100m relay team.
Thus began my love of track and field.
The next year was a great year. I made high jump, the 100m dash and the 800m run, placing second in high jump and eighth in the 100m dash. This was also the year I was diagnosed with type one diabetes.
I was diagnosed on the sixteenth of October, in 2008 (my fifth grade year). The week of the diagnosis was a whirlwind of education sessions about counting carbohydrates and insulin doses. One thing that was missing from that load of information was how to manage diabetes while exercising.
Fast-forward five years, and this is me today. I still have type one diabetes and I still pursue my love for track and field. As with most things, after this amount of time you gain knowledge and skill. This is true with both managing my diabetes as well as competing in track. In this case, the more I learn about controlling diabetes, the better I am able to train and compete. This works vice versa as well, the more I understand the stress, exertion, adrenalin and endurance required in track and field, the better I am able to achieve a good blood sugar reading.
Not to say any of this is easy, of course. It’s important to know that what you do one day, may not work the next. Listening to your body and compensating accordingly is always the best bet. Celebrate the small victories, like when you get that perfect blood sugar. I like to take a picture of every 5.5 reading I get, and share it on social media. (5.5 is the goal blood sugar for me, A.K.A 99) Remember that an off reading is certainly not the end of the world; it’s just another opportunity to learn about your own diabetes.
All the very best,
9 years ago in October 2005, almost a year after my diagnosis, after my family and I had finally begun to accept and deal with my diabetes, we all decided to do something about it, rather than simply sitting back and only fulfilling our minimum obligations of maintaining my health. We wanted to help find a cure and we wanted to be involved in the advocacy of type 1 diabetes. So, we became involved with an organization known as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. (JDRF) The goal of JDRF is to raise money that is directly funded towards a cure for, prevention of, and research for a better lifestyle with type 1 diabetes. One of the main fundraising events each year for my local chapter of the JDRF is the annual Walk To Cure Diabetes. Thousands of people come each year to support their loved ones with diabetes and to raise money to help find a cure! So, in October of 2005, my family and I created our team, Hannah's Bananas. We recruited our friends and family to walk with us, encouraged them to make donations, and even created bright yellow team t-shrits for everyone who came out and supported us! Last Sunday, my team and I completed our 9th walk.
The first year, my team had over 60 walkers who all generously donated and supported me. After that, my family and I knew that this would soon be a huge part of our life every year, and that we wanted to do as much as we could to raise the most money possible each and every year. Every year, beginning around August, we begin reminding our friends and family about the walk and the date, and encourage them to donate and ask their friends for donations. Some of our major fundraising events each year include selling and hanging up paper sneakers at our local Shop-Rite, placing collection jars at local businesses around town and collecting change, and holding a bus trip to Atlantic City! One year, we even had a booth at a Jonas Brothers Concert, and afterwards, we got to meet them! Nick Jonas has diabetes and was really supportive! Each year, we are more and more determined to raise more money than the year before!
In the end however, it is the support that counts and proves how many people are truly there for you. Walk day feels incredible. All of your hard work comes together for one perfect morning. Every year, my team comes up with a new slogan and t-shirt design with one banana for every year we have been walking, and on walk day, everyone wears the new shirt! Once, my team even won the JDRF contest for best t-shirt design! Walk day makes me feel so loved, with so many friends and family waking up bright and early with huge smiles on their faces ready to walk to show their support for me and everyone around the world living with diabetes. There are fun games and activities going on before the walk that make the morning even more enjoyable, but the best part is spending it with everyone who loves you. Regardless of the amount of money we raise, the unconditional support of my friends and family each year is truly priceless.
This year, about 50 of my friends came out and supported me, sporting their bright yellow Hannah's Bananas t-shirts! Friends since I was in kindergarten, from my track team, from school, from camp, family, and even my parent's and brother's friends all came out to walk with me! With perfect weather and great people, this year's walk was loads of fun!
The JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes with my team has become a major part of my life. I like the fact that I am doing all that I can to help find a cure for diabetes and promote advocacy for this cause that is obviously so important to me. Each and every year, the walk proves to me how so many of my friends and family care about me and it also shows me that I can do anything if I work hard and put my mind to it. I'm already excited for next year's walk! (Of course, my family and I never say that line without stating that, that is of course, if there is no cure by then!)
Every summer for the past three years I have left my house, family, comfortable bed, pressurized showers, air conditioning, and life behind to return to my "Home Away From Home" at my sleep-away camp. I wait 11 months for the 1 month where I get to live with my best friends, not worry about anything, and have nothing but absolute genuine fun. Of course for me, there is an added concern that constantly sits at the back of my mind the entire time...type 1 diabetes.
You form indescribable bonds with someone when you're living in close quarters at a camp for a month. My camp friends and I can tell each other anything, and we completely accept each other for who we are.
Three years ago, I was new at camp. Almost the entire rest of my bunk had known each other for years already, and so, being the outsider, I was at first scared and shy. However, I knew that my diabetes was important, and that I needed to tell my bunk mates. Before camp started, my family and I had talked to the nurses and directors about diabetes, but on the first day of camp, I had to tell my counselors about diabetes. Then, on the first night of camp, I told my bunk mates about it. Since I didn't know anyone, I was scared to do this, but I knew it was necessary, and I knew it shouldn't change the way my new friends would treat me. Although at first I think everyone was a little bit confused, I explained what diabetes was and how I had to take care of it. I told them how they could help me manage it. Three years later, we are all best friends, and they helped me take care of my health everyday. Whether it's getting me ice if I have a headache, giving me their soda and sitting with me when my blood sugar is low, or simply walking with me to the nurse's office, they have always accepted me for who I am and helped me control my diabetes.
Day to day, the environment at camp is very fun and care-free. For me, however, I always had to be on my toes. I could not allow myself to ever be totally worry free, or else I knew I would slack on my diabetes management. I always kept my diabetes supplies organized and next to my bed. Every few days I would have to set aside free time to walk down to the nurse's office to talk about my blood sugars. I worked with the nurses and called my family at home to figure out the best ways to manage my health. Additionally, I always carried a bag with me that contained juice pouches, snacks, my glucometer, a glucagon shot, extra supplies, and water. Every morning, I checked the bag and restocked my supplies for the day.
During all of my activities such as swimming and basketball, I was always paying attention to how I felt and checked my blood sugars constantly. Also, I couldn't pick what I ate for every meal at camp, so I had to make sure to always add in my own snacks with protein and enough carbohydrates in order to stay healthy and maintain stable blood sugars!
Since I moved up an age division in camp this year, I went on a trip with my friends to Disney World and Universal Studios! For everyone in camp, it was a total vacation, and although I still had a lot of fun, it was most definitely not a vacation from diabetes for me! I had special protocol to follow in the airport and on the airplanes. In both amusement parks, I was walking the entire day in extreme heat, which is never good for my blood sugars. I constantly checked them and made sure I was ok. I remember that me and my mom were pretty nervous about me going so far away...what if something happened? What if I felt myself having a low blood sugar while on a ride? In the end, I was so on top of my health that I was able to take care of myself and prevent any catastrophes. Although it was a lot of work to manage my diabetes while away on vacation, I had the help of my friends and counselors, and I still had an amazing time!
Taking care of my diabetes while away on my own is a new challenge every year, but with the help of my friends, nurses, and counselors, I was still able to have an unforgettable time at camp this year! I can't wait for next year!
From Type1Nation Blog posting
You’ve heard the advice before: “make lemonade out of lemons.” However cliché that phrase may be I believe it truly applies to how we handle our lives with type one diabetes (T1D). So many of our stories show how something so challenging can become an opportunity to connect with amazing people.
Let me introduce myself. My name is Jack Terschluse, a 19-year-old and rising sophomore at Washington University in St. Louis. I am currently studying political science and plan to go to law school to earn a JD/MBA. I live in St. Louis, MO, and have wonderful parents and a great little brother (although he would object to being called my “little” brother).
I can still remember July 25, 2005, the day T1D came into my life.
My mom slept with me in the hospital room, and my dad gave me my first shot of insulin. We even have funny stories from that time in the hospital amidst the turbulence a diagnosis brings. All T1D families remember those moments, not for their sadness, but for their testament to family and love.
Diabetes also gives us the opportunity to be active citizens. In 2011, I went with fellow delegates to JDRF Children’s Congress in Washington, D.C. We met with countless members of Congress about the importance of T1D research and how they can help us find a cure.
Despite its challenges, T1D has brought some great people into my life. For instance, my former endocrinologist, Dr. Santosh Gupta, helped me overcome my fear of low blood sugars and is a truly selfless person. In 2007, she retired to help T1D children in resource-poor communities in northern India. She does amazing work.
One day she asked me to write a letter to a young Indian girl with diabetes named Surbhi. Surbhi, at this time, was extremely timid about having T1D and did not tell anyone about it. Because people with T1D are considered “defective” in India, she feared she would not be accepted in her community. However, after a couple of months sending letters back and forth, Surbhi is thriving.
My experiences with Surbhi and Dr. Gupta inspired me to found Penpals United, a nonprofit that offers online support groups to people with T1D around the world. Our model works like this: on a monthly basis, children and adults with T1D go to a local clinic where they log on to a program called Oovoo. They then talk, via translation, with T1D teenage mentors from the United States.
The results have been incredible! I am blessed with a great team, made up of past Children’s Congress delegates. We just launched Vision 2014, our initiative to expand into Mexico and Africa.
What I love most about Penpals United stems from its capitalization on the human connection. A teenager with T1D can share his story with another teenager with T1D halfway across the world. All they need is an internet connection.
And T1D celebrities have shared their time with Penpals United. Recently, Gary Hall, Jr., Olympic gold medalist and a person with T1D, came to one of the online support groups and shared his life story. It was an incredible chance for kids to know that they can do anything as long as they take care of their diabetes.
All in all, I believe our journeys with T1D begin when by “making lemonade out of lemons” we meet great people and strengthen the relationships already in our lives.
Diabetes poses great challenges, but we can also pick up great blessings along the way. -
See more here!
Inspiration can come from anywhere, anyplace, and anyone. However, when you share a similar obstacle in life with someone, the message they deliver can be even more of an inspiration. Seeing someone who has in fact accomplished his or her goals, despite difficulties along the way, is truly an inspiration to work towards your dreams no matter what.
Gary Hall Jr. is an olympic swimmer with 5 gold, 2 silver, and 3 bronze medals. Born into a successful swimming family, he worked his way up until he eventually made it to the Olympics! However, while training for his second Olympic games, he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and was told he would not be able to swim as well ever again. But he proved everyone wrong by coming back to win 6 more medals in his next 2 Olympic games, swimming faster than he ever had before!
In our May support group, Penpals United was blessed with the honor of having Gary Hall Jr. as a guest! He visited all of our support groups via Oovoo, and after a brief overview of his life and accomplishments with diabetes, took questions from our audience! Gary Hall Jr. gave hope to everyone who attended the meetings. Not only was his delivery profound, but his message was an inspiration. He proved that despite any obstacles that come in your way and no matter who doubts you, you can achieve your goals with dedication and determination. When hearing how diabetes does not let Gary Hall Jr. stop him from living his life the way he wants to, everyone in the audience felt a sense of enthusiasm and motivation; empowered to reach their own dreams. He not only inspired others to make an effort to live a happy and healthy life, but also inspired everyone to help others live happily as well.
Some of Gary Hall's responses to questions from the sites in India stressed the message that working diligently to manage your diabetes is a crucial part of living a successful life with diabetes. He explained how important it is to stay healthy, and also that managing your diabetes will also only help you in other aspects of life, such as your sport, profession, or education. He said that with his family and friend's constant support, we can all can get through the hard and discouraging times that diabetes challenges us all with. Gary Hall Jr. inspired everyone in the audience to live healthily and happily, to reach their goals, and to help others achieve their dreams as well.
Gary Hall Jr. connected with us all in a unique and personal way, and I know that everyone who attended the meetings felt empowered to live their life as extraordinarily as he has! Penpals United felt honored to have such an amazing inspiration at our support group, and Gary Hall Jr. has truly empowered us all to try and live a successful life!
Click the following link to see the video of Gary Hall Jr. visiting our support groups!
I really do not know how I completed practice that day. I assume that if I had been aware of the extremity of my blood sugar, I would have stopped. I figured “It’s hot out” and “I didn’t drink enough water today, so I’m just a little bit dehydrated” or “I didn’t sleep enough last night”. It was close to the day of an important race, so I was determined to push through. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the workout was over, and my coach told my teammates and me to head inside to drink water and cool off. As I walked into the locker room, my stomach was cramping, my head was pounding, and I was so dizzy that I could barely walk straight. By that point, I knew it was long overdue; time to check my blood sugar....488…with medium ketones. Time to go home.
After immediately administering an injection of the correct dosage of insulin, hydrating, and resting, my blood sugar dropped to about my normal range of about 120. However, my family and I soon discovered that my blood sugar had skyrocketed to such an extremely high number, even while I was exercising, because I was sick! My throat was burning, my stomach was aching, and my body was weak. I was sick in bed for 2 days. It was hard to control my blood sugar during this time even though I kept a close watch on it. My rapidly fluctuating numbers did not help me feel better at all, but once I started to heal, so did my blood sugars. In a sense my blood sugars were a result of me not feeling well, yet they also contributed to my sickness once they went high enough.
In recent years, many innovations and advances have been made for people with type one diabetes. However, perhaps the most promising is the Artificial Pancreas. Although the name may be deceiving it is not an actual “artificial pancreas”, but it practically could be. Similar to an insulin pump, it consists of devices worn 24/7 that communicate with each other to continuously monitor and control your blood sugar (this is called a closed loop system). They alert you when your numbers are dangerously rising or falling and deliver insulin or glucose (through the hormone glucagon) appropriately. Throughout the years, this idea has almost turned into reality. The artificial pancreas is no longer only diagrams. It is finally being funded for testing on patients and an image of what the final product may look like has been released. (In fact, most of the international core team for Pen Pals United met when we rallied Congress for funding for the artificial pancreas!) Someone wearing an artificial pancreas wouldn’t have to manually deliver insulin, check their blood sugar, or treat low blood sugars as often, because the artificial pancreas would do everything for them automatically! Of course, it is not a cure, but it is pretty close! Wearing one would almost feel like you don’t have diabetes!
Imagine sticking your face into a bowl of double chocolate creamy ice cream with rainbow sprinkles and hot fudge over freshly warmed, crispy apple pie with whipped cream and a cherry to top it all off and not giving yourself insulin afterwards, but having it done automatically. Imagine going to the movies with friends and not bringing your bag of supplies along. Imagine you're at practice, unaware that you are getting sick, and your artificial pancreas corrects your blood sugar without you even knowing it, so you don’t get sick after all.
In 1921, Fredrick Banting discovered insulin, changing the way type 1 diabetes was treated forever. (Fun Fact: Banting sold his "new insulin product" to the University of Toronto for just a $1, ensuring that almost everyone would be able to obtain the new medicine and that it wouldn't be too expensive!) Then, in 1962, the first glucose meter was invented, helping people with diabetes manage their blood sugars since. In 1985, the first insulin pump was invented, therefore modernizing diabetes treatment. Now, in 2013, another revolutionary discovery may have been made. 5 beagle dogs have been cured of diabetes for the past four years and have exhibited no symptoms of type one diabetes since their treatment, even after eating and exercising.
In the study on the beagles, the dogs underwent a gene therapy treatment. The gene produced a protein that detected the amount of insulin in the skeletal muscles and delivered the proper amount of insulin. After the treatment was concluded, the protein had been incorporated into the dogs' DNA. Even after excessive exercise and eating, the beagles showed no sign of hypo and hyperglycemia (High and low blood sugars). This experiment has been conducted on lab mice as well, and also showed promising results. However, type 1 diabetes is different in humans and dogs. In humans, the immune system attacks insulin producing cells, whereas these dogs had diabetes chemically induced. Although there is still much work to be conducted before a gene therapy treatment can be applied to humans, it is a crucial step in finding a cure for diabetes. Before these experiments, the focus on a cure was mainly placed on beta cells, never muscles, and never gene therapy. Therefore, this experiment could open entirely new doors towards research for a cure for type 1 diabetes.
No matter how this treatment transpires, it proves that anything is possible. Most researchers never expected for a gene therapy to cure type one diabetes, even if it was diabetes that was clinically induced. However, the unexpected seemed to work! Nothing is impossible, because the word itself says "I'm possible." Basically, what I am trying to convey is that even with type 1 diabetes anything is possible, and almost anything can be a possibility to treat diabetes. There may be bumps along the road...I mean it wasn't too easy for Banting to discover insulin, but he did! However, every new idea, discovery, invention, and every person has the opportunity to influence the world in one way or another. This recent study on beagle dogs may not provide the cure to type 1 diabetes, but it may give researchers and scientists new ideas and new ways to think about a cure.
You can graduate university. You can play cricket, football, lacrosse, and any other sport you want. You can become a famous painter. You can become a lawyer. You can get married and have a family. You can have a healthy baby. You can do anything you want without letting type 1 diabetes in the way of your dreams. In fact, Rachna, a participant of our monthly support groups from the Haridwar site in India, recently achieved a major goal in life. Not only did she personally overcome a great challenge, but she also led an inspirational example for women all around the world. Rachna has type 1 diabetes, but she recently gave birth to a happy and healthy baby!
At the latest December support group meeting, Rachna explained, "If I maintain sugars in normal range, I can have a healthy baby." She said this as a message to all women with diabetes who are pregnant, and she is definitely someone worthy of taking advice from. Rachna had to work hard to make sure that both her and her baby were healthy during her pregnancy. When she first found out that she was pregnant, she was happy to know she would soon be a mother, but was very fearful as well. Rachna didn't know what to expect, but she was determined not to let diabetes get in the way of her goal of becoming a mother. And Rachna didn't just stay healthy...she went above and beyond her normal diabetes regimen to ensure the health of both her and her baby. She had to take extra care managing her health during this time. She was hospitalized for 2 months, not for emergency reasons, but so that she kept a careful eye on her blood sugars and her baby's health. She kept precise records of the carbohydrates she ate, and constantly tested her blood sugars and adjusted her insulin ratios. Rachna explained that a healthy diet helped to keep her blood sugars stable.
(See photos of Rachna, her husband, and her baby above.)
With the help of a diabetes specialist, the nurses and doctors, and her family and friends, Rachna was able to have a healthy baby. She said that everyone was supportive, which made her happy. Since stress is also a big factor in one's blood sugars, this was very important. Rachna's husband was especially vital in keeping Rachna very upbeat and positive. He told us that he was also fearful in the beginning of the pregnancy, but he helped his wife by doing daily household tasks, asking Rachna if she checked her blood sugar and asking if she took the right dosage of insulin. He wanted to tell husbands of women who are pregnant with type 1 diabetes that you should help your wife follow the doctor's instructions and help take care of her blood sugars, so that your wife and children can have a happy life.
Rachna's story is not only an inspiration to future mothers all over the world, but an inspiration to everyone with diabetes. She proved that no matter what you want to do, if you set your mind to it and work hard enough, you will achieve your goal, and that diabetes does not have to stop you!
Rachna's milestone is a perfect example of the tone at the support group meeting this past December. The meeting was focused around reaching goals with diabetes, and it was the first meeting that Riley and I led together, which we were so excited about! The meeting kicked off with Riley, Alex, Dr. Gupta, Jack, and I explaining some goals that we would like to accomplish. The list ranged from staying healthy to doing well on college exams, but we all explained how we would achieve them with hard work! Then Riley, Alex, Dr. Gupta, Jack, and I had our question and answer session with the children in Haridwar and Vrindaban! The first question focused around friends and diabetes. We explained that you can have diabetes and still have friends, and they will still treat you the same! Alex attends all the meetings and is friends with Jack even though Jack has diabetes! We also answered a question where we explained that it is important to write down the correct blood sugars so that your doctors can help you get better control, even if the blood sugars you write down aren't too great. Finally, we explained that it is important to always carry diabetes supplies with you wherever you are.
Throughout the entire process we played games, involving carb counting and spinning cups! And Alex explained his inspirational quote, "Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal" by Pamela Vaull Starr and Rabindranath Tagore, leaving a message to everyone that they can achieve their goals no matter what. Building off of that, Jack asked everyone to set goals that they have to achieve by the next meeting! All the children were told to write their goals on a suitcase or a drawing of a suitcase, and then when they achieve them, Jay (a member of our team who loves aviation!) is going to have a great presentation to tie everything together, simulating a take-off so we can "soar" with our suitcases (which symbolize our goals).
Overall, this past support group was really fun and inspirational! With Rachna's healthy baby inspiring everyone, and some great goals we have set to achieve, I know that I (and I hope everyone else, too!) felt very motivated to reach our goals afterwards!
Hello everyone! I'm Hannah! I'm 16 years old and have been living a normal life with type 1 diabetes for 10 years! I'm so excited to share the journey of Penpals United with you through our blog!